Palestinian Children in Cages: Expect The Worst Of Israeli Abuses To Continue
06 January 2014
By Stephen Lendman
Israel willfully, systematically, maliciously and
lawlessly abuses detained Palestinian children.
They're treated like adult prisoners.
Mercy isn't Israel's long suit. Nor are peace, equity,
justice or respect for fundamental human and civil
Israel spurns them repeatedly. It's standard practice.
It remains unaccountable for grave crimes against
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI)
calls torture and ill treatment of any kind morally,
ethically and legally incompatible with democratic
PCATI "advocates for all persons - Israelis,
Palestinians, labor immigrants, and other(s)." It does
so to "protect them from torture and ill treatment by"
Israeli interrogation and enforcement authorities.
It does it in accordance with rule of law principles
and other democratic values. It challenges
longstanding lawless Israeli practices.
Torture is official Israeli policy. The UN Convention
against Torture defines it as:
"any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether
physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a
person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a
third person information or a confession, punishing
him for an act he or a third person has committed or
is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or
coercing him or a third person, or for any reason
based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain
and suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of
or with the consent or acquiescence of a public
official or other person acting in an official
Fourth Geneva's Article 27 states:
Protected persons "shall at all times be humanely
treated, and shall be protected especially against all
acts of violence or threats thereof..."
Its Articles 31 and 32 state:
"No physical or moral coercion shall be exercised
against protected persons."
"This prohibition applies to...torture (and) to any
other measures of brutality whether applied by
civilian or military agents."
Its Article 147 calls "willful killing, torture or
inhuman treatment...grave breaches" under the
Convention and are considered "war crimes."
Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights Article 7 states:
"No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
Other international law statutes call torture a high
crime against humanity. It's prohibited at all times,
under all circumstances, with no allowed exceptions.
Israel operates extrajudicially. Crimes against
humanity occur daily. Palestinians face torture and
other forms of abuse. Children are treated like
Principle 1 of the UN Declaration of the Rights of the
"Every child, without exception whatsoever, shall be
entitled to (fundamental human and civil) rights,
without distinction or discrimination on account of
race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or
other opinion, national or social origin, property,
birth or other status, whether of himself or of his
They're entitled to special protections and
opportunities. It's to help them develop physically,
mentally, morally, spiritually, and socially. It's so
they'll do it under conditions of freedom and dignity.
They include the right to life, an adequate standard
of living, healthcare, education, leisure, safety and
peace. Israel systematically denies Palestinians all
rights. Children are no exception.
Imagine putting them in cages. Imagine them outside in
stormy winter weather. Israel did so in December.
Two Israeli National Public Defender lawyers witnessed
it firsthand. They met with Palestinian prisoners.
They included young children.
They were "shock(ed)" to see them confined outdoors at
night in freezing stormy weather. They spent hours
waiting to be taken to court around 6AM.
The practice has been ongoing "for months," they said.
They verified it during previous visits.
They issued an emergency appeal "to prevent another
night of such grave harm to humanity."
They were especially appalled at how young children
PCATI issued a lengthy statement. It headline
"Childhood is not a Privilege but a Right!" It
expressed "alarm and condemnation."
It accused Israel of "failure to protect Palestinian
children from direct and indirect torture and ill
treatment." It said "Torture Destroys Childhood,
Families (and) Society."
Israel's Knesset Public Petitions Committee members
discussed how security forces treat Palestinian
children during arrests and imprisonment.
According to the Istanbul Protocol Manual on the
Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture
and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment (the Istanbul Protocol):
"Perpetrators (of torture) often attempt to justify
their acts of torture and ill-treatment by the need to
"One of the central aims of torture is to reduce an
individual to a position of extreme helplessness and
Torture "attack(s) an individual's fundamental modes
of psychological and social functioning."
"The torturer attempts to destroy a victim's sense of
being grounded in a family and society as a human
being with dreams, hopes and aspirations for the
"In addition, torture can profoundly damage intimate
relationships between spouses, parents, children,
other family members and relationships between the
victims and their communities."
Torture especially harms children. The effect on their
well-being is devastating. It's traumatizing. It's
long-lasting. It affects their development. Many
children are scarred for life.
It causes profound personality changes. It creates
anti-social behavior. PCATI gets scores of complaints.
It's actively working on cases involving children.
It's gravely concerned about clear evidence. Other
NGOs and human rights groups documented Israeli
torture and abuse. They did so in cases involving
PACTI said "fail(ing) to allow the arrested child or
minor to full enjoyment of his or her rights,
including the failure to allow for an attorney or
accompanying adult at the time of arrest and
interrogation places the child in a state of
helplessness, distress and increases the pressure
being applied to the child by the security forces in
order to achieve a confession or information during
The threshold for what's considered torture must be
lowered in cases involving children, it said. They
have the right to rehabilitation. So do adults.
They have the right to have their complaints fully
examined, including by competent independent forensic
experts. They have the right to testify in their own
Defense for Children International-Palestine and
Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights said the
"Israel is the only nation to automatically and
systematically prosecute children in military courts
that lack basic and fundamental fair trial
"Around 500-700 Palestinian children, some as young as
12 years old, are arrested, detained and prosecuted in
the Israeli military detention system each year."
"The majority of Palestinian child detainees are
charged with throwing stones, and 74 percent
experience physical violence during arrest, transfer
or interrogation, according to evidence collected by
Defence for Children International Palestine."
"No Israeli children come into contact with the
military court system."
PCATI stressed its position against torture and ill
treatment of all kinds. It called on Knesset Public
Petitions Committee members to address it responsibly.
It expressed especial concern for abused children. It
wants international law enforced. It wants
longstanding Israeli torture and ill treatment
Previous efforts to do so failed. Israel's Knesset is
its most hardline ever. Anti-Palestinian fascists
infest it. Expect business as usual to continue.
Expect nothing substantive to change.
Expect efforts to relieve Palestinian suffering to get
short shrift. Expect the worst of Israeli abuses to
continue. Nothing suggests otherwise.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached
at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book is
titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen
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